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Session Overview
RN13_02b_P: Family Planning and Fertility II
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Frederike Esche, University of Hamburg
Session Chair: Jenny Säilävaara, University of Jyväskylä
Location: PD.2.33
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: D, Level: 2.

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Work-related spatial mobility over the life course and fertility: a comparison between four European countries

Heiko Rüger1, Gil Viry2

1Federal Institute for Population Reserach, Germany; 2University of Edinburgh, UK

In contemporary societies travelling intensively to and for work has become an important part in many people’s lives. Spatial mobility may, however, conflict with other life domains like fertility, especially for women. Using a life course approach, our study provides novel evidence that the interrelation between fertility and work-related spatial mobility is largely shaped by national contexts. We investigate various forms of mobility, including labour migrants, daily and weekly long-distance commuters, and workers regularly absent from home. We apply innovative techniques of sequence analysis to grasp these mobility experiences holistically as mobility histories. We analyse longitudinal data from the ‘Job Mobilities and Family Lives in Europe’ survey of 1,064 women and men aged 40 or older which were randomly selected from the residential population in France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland. We examine whether the association between fertility and mobility histories varies cross-nationally. Our results indicate that long-term experiences of daily long-distance commuting and overnight work travel are associated with lower fertility mainly among women in Germany and Switzerland while this association is largely absent among women living in France and Spain. Interestingly, there are similar tendencies among male overnight travellers in Germany and Switzerland, although the differences are less pronounced than among highly mobile women. Our findings suggest that social norms, family policies and labour market structure play an important role in shaping people’s lives by either reinforcing or mitigating the conflict between fertility and work-related spatial mobility.

Childbearing behavior after a job loss

Maik Hamjediers

Humboldt-University of Berlin, Germany

Economic and sociological scholars have proposed contradicting hypotheses for the association between women’s unemployment and subsequent fertility. On the one hand, a notion of substitution predicts higher childbearing for women experiencing a loss of employment; either due to lower opportunity costs of staying out of the labor market or because of a diminution of the prospect of having a successful career. Both mechanisms attribute an increase of fertility to the substitution of labor market participation with engaging in motherhood. Studies conducted in Germany support such link, revealing a positive association between unemployment and childbearing. However, studies from Finland and Austria displayed a negative impact of job losses on the likelihood of a pregnancy when exploiting business closings as exogenous variation and thereby aiming at causal effects. These findings are in line with an economic and sociological notion of a stable career as a prerequisite for family formation.

This analysis aims to evaluate the previous findings for Germany by investigating different reasons of job terminations and their impact for a sample of women in the age of childbearing. Data of the period 1984-2014 from the German Socio-Economic displays a short-term association between unemployment due to dismissal and increased likelihood of births. This observed pattern however could be attributed to reversed causality. At the same time, neither closing of workplaces nor voluntary quitting do women reveal higher fertility. These findings take into question previously results of unemployment increasing birth rates.

Masculinity, Sexuality and Contraceptive Practices: The Case of Young Lithuanian Men

Vaida Tretjakova

Lithuanian Social Research Centre, Lithuania

The aim of this paper is to reveal the underlying mechanisms behind childbearing decisions and the choice of contraceptive methods to meet them by bringing in the men’s perspective. Contraceptive behavior is usually the focus of demographic studies and they have almost exclusively concentrated on women. This is mostly because of the assumption that women possess the most accurate information on the subject. At the same time, however, understanding of the importance of men’s roles and their influence on childbearing decisions and, consequently, on contraceptive behavior has been growing in the scientific literature. The prevailing explanations of contraceptive behavior rely on the framework of rational behavior and assume progressive linear transition from the use of the so called “traditional” methods (withdrawal, calendar method) to “modern” ones (hormonal contraception). Lithuania in that respect serves as an interesting case study, since even though family transformation processes associated with the second demographic transition are clearly visible, the “modern mode” of contraceptive behavior has not (yet?) been established. Based on 30 in-depth semi-structured interviews with 18-34 years old childless Lithuanian men the interconnections between gender relations, discourses of masculinity and sexuality and contraceptive practices are analyzed. Results of the study indicate the need to reconsider the dominant explanations of contraceptive behavior and their adaptability to specific social settings.

The shift towards a medical contraceptive model in Europe: Where are we now?

Rozemarijn Dereuddre

Ghent University, Belgium

CONTEXT: The introduction of highly effective contraceptives in the 1960s fundamentally changed couples’ reproductive behavior. To a different pace and extent, European countries witness(ed) a shift from a contraceptive model based on natural family planning and condom use (‘cooperative methods’) towards a model dominated by pills, IUDs and other medical methods. The current study aims to look at how this transition further ran/runs its course by (1) comparing the trends in contraception in the 1990s and the 2000s in different European countries, and (2) determining whether changes between the two time periods can be attributed to changes in the composition of the population or to changes in men’s and women’s behavior.

METHODS: We combine data from the Fertility and Family Surveys (1988-1998) and the Generations and Gender Surveys (2004-2011) for ten European countries. Country and period specific logistic regression analyses, and decomposition analyses are used to examine our research questions.

RESULTS: The growing dominance of the medical contraceptive model is confirmed; all countries show an increase in the use of medical contraceptives between the 1990s and the 2000s. At the same time, most countries also witness a rise in cooperative methods which suggests that the former does not merely substitute the latter. Both the change in cooperative and medical methods are attributable to a combination of changing population compositions and altering behavior. Large variations between countries are however present.

CONCLUSIONS: The results underline that sociodemographic inequalities in contraception vary over time and across contexts.

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